Atlanta Restaurant Scene

First Look: Tacos and fun times at Deep End in Old Fourth Ward

Brooks Cloud, Julian Goglia and Mike Blydenstein, the partners behind Ten Apart restaurant group, have been superbusy, lately.

Building on the success of the Pinewood in Decatur and the Mercury at Ponce City Market , they just opened twin Italian concepts, Bar Americano and Bar Crema, in Buckhead.

And for another new venture, Deep End , they recently took over the former 4th & Swift space on North Avenue near Old Fourth Ward Park, transforming it into the kind of colorful taco bar you’d find at the beach in Southern California or Baja.

With longtime Atlanta restaurant manager and barman Brent Hesse at the helm, it’s arguably Ten Apart’s liveliest concept yet.

Designed to draw a late-night crowd, Deep End is open until 2 a.m. six nights a week, serving food until close, and offering entertainment from local bands and DJs most nights.

The menu is focused on tacos, such as the ground beef gringo, carnitas and chicken tinga. Other Mexican-influenced favorites include loaded black bean nachos with guacamole and sour cream, and house-made tomatillo tamales with chicken steamed in a banana leaf.

There are breakfast-anytime items, too, including the rolled ranchero omelet, cooked on the plancha with tomatoes, onions, queso blanco and green chili.

At the bar, the menu leans toward the fun, fruity and reasonably priced, with frozen drinks such as the Flamingo, with vodka, curacao, cranberry and lime, and the Daq Attack, with rum, citrus, lime and strawberry.

There’s a house sangria and a list of value-priced wines by the glass in the $7-$8 range. The beer list is equally approachable, with Miller High Life and Tecate settling in alongside SweetWater IPA and other American craft selections.

Last week, Hesse sat down at the bar and talked about how his background in the restaurant business led him to land at Deep End.

“I grew up in Atlanta and I went to Georgia Tech for a couple of years,” Hesse said. “But I started working at the Tin Lizzy’s in Midtown and just kind of fell in love with service, and then I got into management.

“From there, I got an opportunity to run Buckhead Saloon, a giant, over-the-top party bar. I was there for about a year, but I think it took about 10 years off my life.”

Later, Hesse became more serious about bartending, learning the craft of making cocktails and working at 1KEPT Kitchen & Bar and the Mercury. Earlier this year, he won the barcraft competition at Taste of Atlanta.

“I guess all that culminated in this,” Hesse said and laughed. “I kind of think of it as a throwback to all those cheesy Frankie Avalon beach movies, with a hodgepodge of pop culture references, from ‘Jaws’ to ‘Baywatch’ to the ‘Saved by the Bell’ season when they were working at the Malibu Sands Resort.

“The menu is sort of like that, too, with California street tacos and real tamales. And there’s a giant, gaudy, awesome Mexican omelet. I think Guy Fieri is going to want to come shoot that for ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.’ But we’re going to do a lot of specials as we get going.

“Then we have the fun boat drinks, with entertainment and live music. That’s going to be a huge factor in this place. We’re going to have a comedy open mic night every other Wednesday and will be starting to have some dance parties, like Motown Mondays.”

621 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 470-823-3102,

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The Food & Dining Team offers reviews, previews, food news and fun bites food trends for metro Atlanta’s vast food and dining scene.